Commission set up to study sexual abuse in the Church in Spain

The commission that will carry out the first official investigation into the sexual abuse committed in Spain by members of the Catholic Church began its work on Tuesday without the participation of the religious institution.

The Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, chaired “this Tuesday the constitutive meeting of the Advisory Commission to prepare a report on sexual abuse in the sphere of the Catholic Church and the role of public powers,” reported the institution that defends human rights. fundamental rights and public freedoms.

This commission was born from a commission from Parliament, and is made up of 20 people, the majority of whom are “external advisers who belong to the professional or academic field with experience in caring for victims, with legal knowledge and in victimology”, according to the Ombudsman for Village.

The commission does not have, at the moment, a date to present its conclusions. In a parliamentary appearance in June, Gabilondo said that his objective is “to collect in a report proposals, measures, changes and initiatives that manage to compensate the victims and prevent something like this from happening again.”

In his opinion, “no country can remain paralyzed or move forward without reflecting on how its minors have been treated, nor can any public or private institution look the other way if it has become aware of such serious situations.”

Spanish deputies approved in early March the creation of a commission of experts in charge of carrying out the first official investigation in the country on pederasty in the Catholic Church.

The initiative, which received broad support from the deputies, provided that this independent commission, chaired by the Ombudsman, would have the presence of representatives of the administration, the victims and the clergy.

However, the Spanish Catholic Church declined to participate in it, considering that the commission should investigate this type of abuse throughout society, not just within it.

Despite this, the Church offered “collaboration with civil authorities of all kinds, judges, Parliament, the Government, within the framework of current legislation,” declared, at the end of April, the general secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Luis Arguello.

Unlike countries such as Germany, Australia, the United States, France or Ireland, Spain has not carried out any extensive research on this subject.

In the absence of official data, the newspaper El País launched a registry in 2018 that has counted almost 1,600 victims of pederasty in the Spanish Church.

For its part, the Church indicated in March that it had registered since 2020 more than 500 cases of sexual violence against minors within it.

Also, the Church announced in late February that it had commissioned an external audit by a law firm to shed light on sexual violence against minors.

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